Police has to register a FIR; cannot turn away a complainant
HC: When a report relating to the commission of cognizable offence is received by an officer in charge of a police station, he has to register a FIR in terms of Section 154(1) of CrPC
The high court of Bombay at Goa has held that police cannot deny registration of a FIR by stating that the matter is of a civil nature when the complaint discloses the commission of a criminal offence.
The verdict comes as a blow to the practice adopted by police of declining investigations of criminal cases and advising complainants to approach the civil courts for relief.
The high court passed the judgment on a petition filed by Chowgule and Company Pvt. Ltd against Panaji police station. The company alleged that it was forcibly ousted from a premises in a building in Panaji. A division bench comprising Justice A P Lavande and Justice U V Bakre stated that the law permits the victim to sue for civil wrong and at the same time proceed against the wrongdoer for having committed a criminal offence and hence it was incumbent upon the police to have registered a FIR. The high court added that the facts stated in the complaint give cause of action to Chowgules to file a civil suit. However, the same, prima facie, also discloses the ingredients of many of the offences mentioned therein, some of which are cognizable, the court opined.
The high court stated that when a report relating to the commission of cognizable offence is received by an officer in charge of a police station, he has to register a FIR in terms of Section 154(1) of CrPC. The court observed that there can be no dispute that in appropriate cases a preliminary inquiry may be conducted before registering the FIR. It also noted that Panaji police station records pertaining to the case do not reveal that any preliminary inquiry was conducted to conclude that the case is of a civil nature and not a cognizable offence.
"In our view the report (complaint), prima facie disclosed the commission of offences punishable under Sections 447; 448; 453; 427 read with Section 34 of IPC," the bench said. Stating that criminal intention is made out prima facie, the court has directed the police to register the offence.
Jagdish K. Gianchandani
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1451
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